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A novel method to improve the performance of PCM thermal energy storage units using a small oscillator plate-numerical analysis

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  • S. Rahmanian
  • H. Rahmanian-Koushkaki
  • M. Moein-Jahromi
  • R. Saidur
Article number108900
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/12/2023
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Energy Storage
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date8/09/23
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Employing a small oscillator plate is proposed as a novel idea to improve the performance of phase change material (PCM) based thermal energy storage unit. This idea could make mixing heat flow toward the PCM solid-liquid interface to hasten the melting and heat transfer rates. Opposite to the vibration of the whole PCM heat sink suggested in the literature, it needs very slight mechanical energy for oscillation. The oscillator plate was installed at three positions for the horizontal and vertical PCM heat sink: i) the middle of the hot plate, ii) the bottom of the hot plate, and iii) the corner of the heat sink. A computational fluid dynamics model has been employed to model the PCM melting process and evaluate the induced mixing heat flow and its effect on natural convection. A new mechanical method using vibration energy accelerates heat flow to improve heat transfer and thermal energy absorption. The results reveal that in the best case with transversal oscillation at the corner of the heat sink, the melting rate and heat transfer rate (Nusselt number) increase by 39 % and 64.2 % compared to no vibration case, respectively. Also, the absorbed heat energy rate (AHR) within the PCM heat sink is elevated from 0.51 to 0.79 (54.9 %), while the oscillator just consumed as small as 438 mJ of mechanical energy, reflecting this mechanical approach's uniqueness.